‘I want a magazine!’ She demands as soon as we swish through the doors of Sainsburys. I push on past the cbeebies magazines with their cellophaned child magnet landfill toys.

‘I want a lemon,’ she says next pointing at the melons.

‘I want moreganix!,’ she says whilst trying to grab six pink packets of Organix in her arms as we wheel past.

‘I want buttons.’

‘Yeah, well I want to win the lottery and have a nanny and an ocado delivery every day – sometimes life just doesn’t work out the way we want it to,’ I say wearily.

‘It’s not fair.’

‘Well life’s not fair my sweet.’

But I WANT buttons.’

‘I want a child who doesn’t say I WANT all the time and who actually bothers to say please. And if you stand up once more in the trolley we’re going to walk out of this supermarket with nothing, we’ll put the moreganix right back. In fact we’ll put everything back.  And you’ll never eat another chocolate button ever again, ever.’

‘NOOOOOOOOOo’

When we’re in the car and Lula is eating her moreganix contentedly I say to her, ‘You know, you’ve really got to stop asking for things all the time. This incessant ‘I want, I want’ it’s just so spoilt.’

‘No, it’s not.’

‘Er, actually, yes it is.’

It’s pantomime season in the car, ‘Oh no it isn’t.’

I hate panto. ‘You know, really you’re a very lucky girl.’

‘Why?’

Why? Because you’ve got me as a mother I think.

‘Because you have a pink bedroom and a mummy who buys you organix and rents you sleeping beauty on demand and a daddy who reads you bedtime stories and puts up with you jumping on his nuts every morning (I don’t say that last  bit) and there are a lot of children out there who don’t even have enough to eat let alone free reign in blockbuster. Some don’t even have mummies and daddies.’

Have I gone too far? As soon as I say the words I regret it.

‘Why don’t they have mummies and daddies?’ She asks in wonderment.

I think about HIV and Aids and Malaria and the fact that almost 99% of maternal deaths happen in developing countries and think perhaps that’s all a bit much for a three year old to comprehend. We haven’t done death yet.

How do you explain why some people are born rich and some are born poor? Why some are born in countries that give you decent healthcare and to households with three televisions and the same number of computers whilst other children are born and live in slums and are given no opportunities to do anything – let alone choose which overpriced organic corn snacks they want.

I can’t even explain to her why daddy doesn’t have boobies or why she can’t open every window of her advent calendar at once. These are BIG topics. About capitalism, inequality, corrupt pharmaceutical companies and governments, injustice, sexism and death. I struggle to understand the lack of fairness in the world myself.

I figure that I can’t tell her about all these things because how could she possibly understand a world where every child doesn’t get a princess story at bedtime or have a fairy called Happy looking out for them.

‘Well, because like I said, life isn’t fair,’ I begin, reversing out of my parking space, ‘when we’re in India and Asia you’ll see that.’

Sometimes I think we’ve bitten off more than we can chew.

But if it comes down to staying and reinforcing her world view that food grows magically in Sainsbury’s, and is paid for by a piece of plastic that mummy happens to keep in her wallet or vagabonding the world and showing her a less pink view of it, I think we’re doing the right thing. I want to burst that big pink bubble.

Gently mind.

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2 thoughts on “Poverty and bursting a big pink bubble

  1. Hannah says:

    Loved this post. Poor Lula. At least there are lots of sparkly things in India – that should soften the blow somewhat. And beaches. And sunshine. And of course you’re there all the time – which is her number one wish right?!

    Can’t believe tomorrow’s your last day. I’m impossibly jealous. Take me with you? I’ll babysit!

    x

  2. Hannah Yates (nee Clark) says:

    Sarah, sympathise so much with you in this post – Imogen isn’t quite 2 and a half and could relate to so much in this article. Just one that jumps out is the differences between men and women. We are currently having daily questions or even just statements (in supermarkets) such as “that man has a willy, that lady hasn’t got a willy” “WHY mummy?”!

    Have enjoyed reading all of the few posts I’ve come across, and wish you all the best for your up and coming trip. Sounds absolutely amazing and very inspiring. Funnily enough, I’m at the point where I’m questioning what corner I should turn in life!

    Enjoy!
    x

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